Hard on the heels of a similar ruling in Pennsylvania comes another court decision in Colorado that the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) says further builds the case that poker is a game of skill, not chance. In Colorado v. Kevin Raley, a jury found the organizer of a poker league not guilty of illegal gambling after lawyers for the defense presented expert testimony by Professor Robert Hannum, Professor of Statistics at the University of Denver, that poker is a game of skill. This testimony was challenged by the prosecution, yet the jury still returned a not guilty verdict likely due to Professor Hannum’s testimony and the overwhelming body of evidence that demonstrates that poker is in fact a game of skill.
Under Colorado law, illegal gambling “means risking any money, credit, deposit, or other thing of value for gain contingent in whole or in part upon lot, chance, the operation of a gambling device, or the happening or outcome of an event, including a sporting event, over which the person taking a risk has no control, but does not include bona fide contests of skill.”
Gary Reed, Colorado State Director of the PPA, had this to say about the ruling: “The PPA is pleased with the outcome of this case. It is further confirmation that poker is indeed a game of skill, not chance. At the same time, the not guilty verdict cements the rights of Colorado citizens to enjoy the American pastime of poker and will allow law enforcement to use its scarce resources to investigate real unlawful activity in the state, not poker games.”
“Today’s ruling is the third victory for the poker community in less than a week, following on the heels of verdicts in Kentucky and Pennsylvania that protect an individual’s right to play poker at a time and place of their choosing,” said John Pappas, executive director of the PPA. “The momentum continues in our favor, and the PPA will continue to champion such causes in other states as well as at the national level.”
All eyes now turn to South Carolina, where attorney Jeffrey Phillips is going to court on February 13 to make similar arguments in defense of five SC poker players charged over two years ago.
After the favorable PA ruling, Phillips said, “it might make it a little easier for our judge to follow suit.” With the addition on the Colorado ruling, Phillips may well end up flush with success.